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CAPTAIN Nasser Hussain held back tears as he was abused by fans after England's slump to the bottom of the world cricket rankings.

It was 1.51pm on August 22 and a shell-shocked Hussain was standing on the balcony at The Oval after his team had just been officially declared the worst in the world.

New Zealand had won the final Test by 83 runs and taken the series 2- 1 following yet another diabolical batting display by England.

They had collapsed from 123 for 3 to 162 all out in just 77 minutes, losing seven wickets for l9 runs inside eight overs.

Now the heat is on to find a squad capable of touring South Africa this winter.


While Hussain tried to paper over the cracks in a TV interview, the fans vented their fury on the hapless side.

Fans jeered "What a load of rubbish''' and '"We're the worst team in the world,'' and the tears welled up in the captain's eyes.

He said: "Of course the insults hurt. The things that were being shouted and sung hurt immensely.

"We just don't turn up at l0 o'clock in the morning and say who are we playing? `Oh it's New Zealand, we'll go out and see what's happening.' We've got a burning desire to turn things around.

"I can understand the crowd barracking us, however hurtful it is. I can assure everyone as to how gutted I and the rest of the team feel."

Hussain found an unlikely friend in the shape of Kiwi Coach, Steve Rixon who was disgusted by the way the crowd abused Hussain, saying: "It's an outrage when the home Captain ends up being booed."

As the insults rained down on Hussain and his men, the triumphant Kiwis were called out on to the field where they were mobbed by supporters.

Some of the players stripped to the waist and gave a rendition of their famous All Blacks' rugby war dance, the Haka.

That was the final insult for the English players slinking away from the Oval after only their second series defeat by the Kiwis in England over 68 years.

Just to add to the chaos of English cricket it was revealed that Graham Thorpe told Hussain he was not available for the South African tour on the eve of the final Test.

But chairman of selectors, David Graveney was not informed until 48 hours later, and he was clearly annoyed at the way Thorpe's tour unavailability leaked out.
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:LANDER, Chris
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 23, 1999
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